Oklahoma Oil and Gas

Oklahoma Oil and Gas

Oklahoma’s prominent place in the oil industry is fortuitous, a result of encompassing the bulk of the hydrocarbon rich Anadarko, Arkoma, and Ardmore geologic basins and their associated shelves and platforms. The sedimentary basins that have yielded the bulk of Oklahoma’s oil production are mostly Pennsylvanian in age, but oil and gas reservoirs across the State range from Cambrian to Cretaceous. The first commercial paying well, the Nellie Johnstone No. 1, was drilled in 1896 near Bartlesville (Washington County). Completed in 1897 as the discovery well for the giant Bartlesville-Dewey Field, the well ushered in the oil era for Oklahoma Territory.

After the turn of the century, discoveries were made in rapid succession in areas that would eventually encompass many of the 26 major oil fields. All but five of the majors were discovered before the end of World War II; the last of them, the Postle Field, was found in Texas County in 1958(Northcutt, 1985). Although the 26 majors constitute only about 1% of the total number of fields, they account for 59% of the total oil produced (Lay, 2001). Until overtaken by California in 1923, Oklahoma remained the leading producing state in the U.S. (Hinton, 2001). Peak annual production of 278 million barrels (762,000 bbls/day) was reached in 1927, with several intermediate highs and lows since then. The peaks and valleys result from changes in the number of wells drilled and completed as well as from the size of the fields being found.

Tulsa – the city that oil built

Tulsa has long been known as the oil capital of the world and the city that oil built. The rise of Tulsa to a place of preeminence in the petroleum industry began on June 25, 1901, when a well was brought in at Red Fork across the Arkansas River to the southwest. Tulsa leaders caused a bridge to be built between the two points and national publicity focused attention on Tulsa as a center of a new oil region. When a major oil strike took place at the nearby Glenn Pool, on November 22, 1905, the production of oil in the area became so great that the term “Oil Capital of the World” was universally applied to Tulsa. Other fields were discovered and developed in adjacent areas to a point where, for a time, it was the largest oil producing center on earth.

Tulsa remained in the forefront of exploration and development, financing, equipment manufacturing, and provided skills and executive direction for a growing, worldwide industry – hence continued to hold the title: Oil Capital of the World.